Manuel Neuer’s return to full training could come next week, Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has said.
Heynckes said the 32-year-old Germany goalkeeper has “great ambitions to go to the World Cup” as he continues his recovery after breaking his foot three times since last March.
Neuer has not played a competitive match since undergoing surgery in September and has yet to resume full training with the World Cup less than six weeks away, but last month returned to light training for the first time in seven months.
He did not train with the team last week, staying in Munich to work in the weight room as the rest of the squad flew to Madrid for their Champions League match at the Bernabeu on Tuesday.
Neuer will not play a part in Bayern’s final away match of the season at Cologne this weekend, but Heynckes said: “He should make the next step next week.
“He could take part in match-related training forms towards the middle, the end of that week.”
Heynckes said a possible comeback “depends on the doctors, on Manuel, on me” and added: “The way it looks right now, it’s positive. He’s got closer — he’s in a great physical shape.
“Manuel, as far as I understand him, has great ambitions to go to the World Cup. But he must not take any risks. It’s a sensitive injury. He must feel it, the docs have to green light it.”
Last month, Germany head coach Joachim Low said that he was planning for a World Cup squad that included captain Neuer.
The defending champions will announce their preliminary squad on May 15, with the final 23 to be named on June 4.
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.